Karen Kelly

While many schools already have Acceptable User Policies in place, it is a good idea to plan a day or two to prepare your students for using cell phones in class. Students who have solely been using their cell phones for social purposes may not realize the rules for texting and phone use might change or be different in a professional setting. For example, once they have their phones out in class, some students may want to start texting friends throughout the class and zone out of the lesson. By establishing guidelines, you can create an environment where students have a clear understanding of the expectations so that they begin to understand that there is some etiquette involved when using one's phone in a professional setting. Here are some things you will want to do before getting started with cell phones in your classroom.
  1. Review your school's Acceptable User Policy. You will want to make sure cell phones are not banned in your school or district. If they are, you will need to talk to your building administrator and get approval for cell phone use in your classroom. You might share some of the following blogs with your administration so that they might consider changing their policy on cell phone use in school.



2. Once you have gotten your administration's support, it is time to notify parents of what will be taking place in your classroom and get their support as well. You might schedule an open
house for parents to come hear and see how you will be using phones in the classroom. If scheduling an evening for parents does not work, you can always send a letter home which
explains your program and gives the parents a place to give permission for their student to participate. Your presentation and/or letter should include these components:
  • Explain that a cell phone is not necessary--you do not want parents to think that you expect them to buy their child a cell phone if s/he does not already have one.
  • Explain what resources and/or applications will be used with the cell phone. Share the educational uses for cell phones so that parents will have a clear understanding of the purpose/role the phone will have in school.
  • Provide some resources for parents if they want to conduct their own research--the websites above could be a good place to start.
  • Review your classroom expectations/guidelines for using cell phones in your classroom. Have parents encourage proper cell phone etiquette at home as well.
  • Release yourself from liability of the students' phones (lost, broken, damaged, stolen, etc...)
  • Survey students/parents to find out what kind of cell phone plan the student has (texting, data).
  • Have a place for parents to sign and also a place for students to sign.


3. Teach your students about cell phone etiquette and safety.

Home

No Cell Phone? No Problem!

Text Messaging/SMS

Texting in the Classroom

Texting to Connect with Students at Home

Preparing your Classroom for Cell Phones

Multi-Media Projects

Author Reflection